According to the Association of European Coeliac Societies (AOECS), which administers the system, the Espiga Barrada symbol is regarded as the best guarantee in the countries that it is used and easily recognizable when crossing the language barriers.
At present, it is estimated there are five million potential customers of gluten-free products in Europe.
One in 100 people is estimated to suffer from celiac disease, while the number of healthy people who have made the lifestyle decision to ditch gluten from their diets is growing rapidly.
Strict production standards
The Crossed Grain Trademark is registered and protected across the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina.
It guarantees that food producers in these countries comply with the strict production standards required by the AOECS, which include an annual audit of the manufacturing facilities to ensure that the gluten content is kept to a maximum of 20ppm throughout the manufacturing process.
Carrefour Spain to jump aboard
The move by FACE to adopt the Espiga Barrada symbol precipitated a decision by Carrefour Spain to sign an agreement to use ELS for its own-brand gluten-free products.
The retail giant’s range includes baked goods such as muffins, croissants, biscuits, sliced bread, buns, and pizza bases, as well as other products such as pastas, refrigerated doughs and ice cream cones.
In a statement, the company said it aims to lead the food transition in Spain.
“Consumers demand more and more information about the products they eat and the chain, in response to the need of customers, bet on a more quality, sustainable and respectful with the environment,” it said.
The AOECS, the Celiac Association of Catalonia (founding member of the AOECS) and European associations linked to AOECS promote the use of the Espiga Barrada as a common identifier for gluten-free foods prepared or packaged in the EU.